Add another deployed airline to the Inmarsat Global Xpress roster. A Singapore Airlines 777 showed up at Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon (23 Sept 2017) sporting a new radome on top. Ship 9V-SWQ took a break earlier this summer, spending about 7 weeks on the ground between July 18th and September 8th. That covers the typical amount of time necessary for a first aircraft installation of a new connectivity solution such as this.
The plane returned to service and is hopping across the globe on a regular flight pattern now. No word yet on whether the new high-speed connectivity is active (the aircraft previously had the SITAONAIR L-band service installed) but presumably passengers should have a much better inflight connectivity experience very soon.
The Inmarsat/Singapore Airlines deal was announced in November 2015 and covers 777-300ER, A380-800 and A350-900 aircraft. Some of the 777-300ERs (example 1, example 2) have the Panasonic Avionics eXConnect kit installed but the radome on 9V-SWQ is in a different location on the fuselage (further aft) and looks slightly different. Also worth noting that the early A350s ended up with eXConnect on them; future deliveries are more likely to still see GX on board.
Further SQ 77W deployments are expected, of course, but it does not appear that any other aircraft from the fleet are in for that retrofit right now. Two aircraft – 9V-SWW (9 SEPT) and 9V-SWY (26 AUG) – are on the ground in Singapore for a longer maintenance interval. These are currently PAC-fitted aircraft so less likely to see a connectivity swap. They are also two of the last three 77W aircraft to not receive the new premium economy product. That seems much more likely the work happening during this period.
Ships SWA, SWV, SWN and SWO all recently took short breaks (~72 hours, give or take) in the Singapore recently. That would be sufficient for a GX install if the process were running full speed but an impressive install time so soon after the first job. It is unclear if they received the kit during the work; I’m betting not. I haven’t been able to find sufficiently recent photos to confirm or refute such, but none of those four had the PAC kit installed previously.
Also, no word from Inmarsat or the airline as to whether the system is activated yet for passengers. Hopefully some answers will be forthcoming at this week’s APEX EXPO conference in Long Beach.
Good news! SITAONAIR confirms that the service is installed and active.
Some more ‘breaking news’: service is activated and it is by SITAONAIR, since we are the airline service provider https://t.co/TMVwZaGjkL
— SITAONAIR (@SITAONAIR) September 25, 2017
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